Acclaimed translator Dick Davis breathes new life into the timeless works of three masters of fourteenth-century Persian literature.
Together, Hafez, a giant of world literature; Jahan Malek Khatun, an eloquent princess; and Obayd-e Zakani, a dissolute satirist, represent one of the most remarkable literary flowerings of any era. All three lived in the famed city of Shiraz, a provincial capital of south-central Iran, and all three drew support from arts-loving rulers during a time better known for its violence than its creative brilliance. Here Dick Davis, an award-winning poet widely considered 'our finest translator of Persian poetry' (The Times Literary Supplement), presents a diverse selection of some of the best poems by these world-renowned authors and shows us the spiritual and secular aspects of love, in varieties embracing every aspect of the human heart.
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Dick Davis is a translator, a poet, and a scholar of Persian literature who has published more than twenty books. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Ohio State University. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Dick Davis is an English-American poet, university professor, and translator of verse, who is affiliated with the literary movement known as New Formalism in American poetry. Born into a working class family in Portsmouth shortly before the end of World War II, Davis grew up in the Yorkshire fishing village of Withernsea during the 1950s, where an experimental school made it possible for Davis to become the first member of his family to attend university.
Shortly before graduating from Cambridge University, Davis was left heartbroken by the suicide of his schizophrenic brother and decided to begin living and teaching abroad.
After teaching in Greece and Italy, in 1970 Davis fell in love with an Iranian woman, Afkham Darbandi, and decided to live permanently in Tehran during the reign of the last Shah. As a result, he taught English at the University of Tehran, and married Afkham Darbandi, about whom he has since written and published many love poems, in 1974.
After the Islamic Revolution turned Dick and Afkham Davis into refugees, first in the United Kingdom and then in the United States, Davis decided to begin translating many of the greatest masterpieces of both ancient and modern Persian poetry into English. Davis is a vocal opponent of the ruling Shia clergy of Iran and has used his talents as a scholar and literary translator to give a voice to critics and foes of Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia Law from throughout the history of Iranian literature. Despite expressing a fondness for Christian music, Davis has said that his experiences during the Iranian Revolution have made him into an Atheist and that he believes that religion does more harm than good.
Davis is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has been called, by The Times Literary Supplement, "our finest translator from Persian." Davis' original poetry has been just as highly praised.